I’ve been poking fun at The Rapha Army for quite some time. I’ve emailed them, I’ve prodded them through social media and I’ve scoffed at their 170cm block size for women which basically ignores the comfort of taller women riders.
I should say before I get cracking in the name of openness I’m a Rapha Cycling Club member, not that I’ve ever been on a club ride or claimed a free cup of coffee but I had great intentions when I paid the yearly fees.
I suppose I should start with an easy one. Rapha have a new bra and given that my boobs are fake and hardly move I decided to go for the lightweight variation, the only reason I wear a bra at all is because I’m afflicted with frisky nipple syndrome. My go to exercise boob sling is Shock Absorber, I’ve ran in them, skydived, rock climbed and they always perform in a very basic way in engendering that feeling of snugness.
I’m a bit of a hot mess when I ride and I don’t mean that in flattering way, it’s just a polite way of saying I sweat a lot. Usually with the Shock Absorber I get home and I realise that my bra has been replaced with soaking wet sponges and this is the BRILLIANT point about the easy on easy off Rapha bra; if it can cope with my middle aged hot flushing sweaty body and only retain the smallest amount of moisture then it will cope with anything which was a really nice surprise because I’ve had a Castelli sport specific bra and it’s been shoved at the back of the drawer once worn, rather irritably once.
I own two Rapha jerseys the blue team sky training which will always be too short but has enough good bits to offset that complaint. I suppose firstly I like it because it doesn’t have a big “SKY” on it, the branding is subtle. Unlike the RCC club jersey, the pocket is big enough to take my mobile. The tac-strip below the pocket really does keep your jersey in place and as you’d expect, the finishing and the stitching has and anal attention to detail. The fit excluding the length is exceptional and I feel great riding in it. I firmly believe that if you look the part you’ll feel the part and that in turn will help you achieve.
The RCC jersey has some nice features but the phone pocket is a bit too small but on the inside of the jersey it has a little eyelets to run your earpiece which I like but I’d never use because I don’t use headphones while riding. Also the stick strip at the bottom differs in that on the RCC top it’s more akin to something that you’d find a pair of hold ups, ultimately though I was let down on the service I was informed that the mens jersey would be an option and in the end I bought a windsock, although a very well made and highly stylish I doubt I’d ever listen to that advice again, sadly I’ve ridden in it and could never in all conscience return it.
Really I suppose that Rapha threads are worth the money, unless you’re talking about their new wet gear which is just crazy prices when you have Castelli Gabba which actually look reasonably priced by comparison and the Gabba range has pretty cool styling.
One last point Rapha offer a gift wrap service for £5 and if you’re sending Rapha products as a gift when you tick the box your purchase is sent in wrapped in paper, inside a lovely black magnetic closing box without any values shown on the invoice. I would say it’s worth it.